New Delhi [India]: Festivals are occasions that bring people together irrespective of caste, religion and belief. And Diwali is one such festival that has a long history of uniting people, according to the Chairman of the Muslim Students Organisation of India Dr Shujaat Ali Quadri.
On the auspicious occasion of Diwali, the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi lit up in the very spirit of the festival and welcomed one and all to soak in the festive spirit.
The Dargah Hazrath Nizamuddin was beautifully decorated with lighting and Diwali diyas on Monday as the whole of India was rinsed off the festivities. People coming from far-flung areas lit diyas in every corner of the dargah and prayed for peace in the country.
According to Nazim Nizami, gaddi nasheen of the shrine, Hindus come every year to lit diyas and distribute sweets at the dargah to mark the festival of lights that is locally known as Eid e Charaghan. “They also carried some diyas or candles to their homes as blessings of Hazrat Nizamuddin,” he said.
Nazim Nizami said that the history of the Diwali celebration on the dargah is as old as the dargah itself. “Though the dargah itself does not organise the celebration. Hindu brothers come of their own volition, lit diyas, and distribute sweets. Locals help them and take part in their celebration as this is a gesture of heart meant to spread feelings of love and brotherhood. They seek the blessings of Hazrat Nizamuddin on this occasion and lit up the whole surroundings of the dargah. The whole precipice bathes in roshni (light) on Diwali. It makes for a beautiful scene,” said Nizami.
Nizami added that many Hindus take one or two diyas to their home as they believe that it will add Auliya’s blessings to their celebration.
Some people believe that lighting diyas at the dargah started as a call for peace amid wars among various kings and local chieftains during the medieval period.
Historian Khwaja Ahmed Nizami has recorded the celebration of Diwali (Jashn e Charaghan or Roshni e Zeest) in his epic on Hazrat Nizamuddin.
Amir Khusrau, the Sufi poet and disciple of Mehboob-e-Ilahi Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya has composed numerous poems in Persian as well as Braj language celebrating “Rang” with his beloved Auliya. The “Roshni-e-Zeest” as he claims here in a taslees (a verse of three lines) in Pahalavi was also close to his heart.
“He writes, “Zee astin rang-e-zeest, Zee astin roshni-e-zeest, Barmala mee azghaf jashn-e-durai,” quoted Quadari.
“One festival bespeaks colours of life and another one enumerates upon the light of life Ergo, these two festivals are so dear to me”
The lighting of diyas is done along the shrine’s pathways and around the Muslim chaddar during the occasion of Laxmi Poojan. The mausoleum would be filled with people in brightly coloured clothes not only on Laxmi Poojan but also on Bhai Dooj and other religious days.
The dargah also observes the Dua-e-Roshni (prayer of light) ritual wherein evening prayers are sung in the presence of lamps.
Several non-Muslim devotees arriving at the dargah with diyas a day before Diwali told the Times of India that they did not want to be named because their love for Nizamuddin was personal to them. However, they added that the dargah visit was not about religion. “It is about the peace one doesn’t find everywhere but here. It is only to be experienced — it is a sentiment beyond description,” said one of them.
“A Hindu visitor, lighting an earthen lamp, said, “The richness of the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb blending in the echoing voices of qawwals in praise of Lord Krishna and Hazrat Ali sums it up. The light shines for everyone at Nizamuddin,” as quoted by Quadri.
The resting place of the Sufi saint has always drawn people from across faiths. “It is not only during Diwali that people from different faiths come here with their festive sentiments to express their love for Mehboob e Ilaihi (beloved of God) Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya,” said Nizami. “Even during Basant, programmes are organised here that attract people from across faiths,” he added.
“Ever since Sufis came to India, we have only offered langar, goodwill, assimilation, and shared festivities to all. We will continue to do so,” he said.
Notably, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) National Executive member and Muslim Rashtriya Manch patron Indresh Kumar on Saturday paid a visit to Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and lit earthen lamps inside the premises of the shrine, ahead of Diwali.
The RSS’ Muslim wing, Muslim Rashtriya Manch called for peace and prosperity in the country.
“The festival of Diwali is celebrated in the world including India. It brings happiness and prosperity to every household. This festival erases all the religious differences and the differences between the provinces. India is a land of pilgrimages, festivals, and fairs. All of them give bread to the poor and increase brotherhood among themselves. He said that every festival teaches us that we do not want bigotry, malice, hatred, riots, or war. We want peace, harmony, and brotherhood,” Indresh Kumar said.
“No one should be forced to convert and do violence. Everyone should follow their own religion and caste. Do not criticize and insult other’s religions. When all religions are respected in the country, then the country will be free from the fundamentalists who make stone pelting on Friday. India is the only country that respects and accepts all religions,” he added.